After Ingeborg Bachmann

Already the departures have been rehearsed,
the shores reserved—banners folded, put away
and lost. Already, today, I forgot your face.

Already the crowds have been dispersed,
left to wander the empty galleries of words
unspoken and shivering in white reflections.

Already the air has thinned with anticipation,
clouds pressing against that intention with dull
malice, our modern feelings nearing an end.

Already, beneath the calculating sky, alien flowers
are blooming, studio lights hooding their progress.
Already they distract the light with their expert lies.

Already the skirt has matched its seam with a rip
spreading like water across silk, like animals moving
over a dark field toward a darker field of stars.

Already the ship hovers, a soft mark near the harbor,
the ashen shore unsure if it is approaching land
or leaving, its curved back—that long labor—rocking

in black water. Already I reach, longing through
this hour, parting sun and moon like hair. Already they draw
back with dislike, with fear. Already I am done here.


Quinn Latimer was born and raised in Southern California. Her work has recently appeared in The Paris Review, La Petite Zine, and Circumference, and she is an assistant editor of Parnassus: Poetry in Review and art editor of Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art. She lives in New York City.

At Guernica, we’ve spent the last 15 years producing uncompromising journalism. 

More than 80% of our finances come from readers like you. And we’re constantly working to produce a magazine that deserves you—a magazine that is a platform for ideas fostering justice, equality, and civic action.

If you value Guernica’s role in this era of obfuscation, please donate.

Help us stay in the fight by giving here.